Lucky for us a snake lived under that house,
The house where lightning struck.
Years went by, snow fell occasionally.
The snake one night came in as we slept.
A whole lifetime dreamt away in that night.
Snowmen made, angels in the snow frozen
Momentarily in time, the neighbor’s bird
Escaping one day, out among the palm trees
And vanishing into its name, its cry
On the treetops that nobody heard.
The hills protected us when the sky
Broken open fell hard through its opening
And the impact threw us back on our knees.
But mostly the summer monsoons kept
Their promise even when we didn’t pray,
Even as we made of our solitudes day
After day a secret invisible play
That we freely partook of, until we slept
To the sound of cicadas humming, whirring
That August night when the snake came visiting
And I, blurry-eyed, fumbling the next morning
Down the dark stairwell, half-awake, feeling
The sudden weight of our rice finch’s cage
Pulling me down until I looked. When I saw
The coiled guest inside I didn’t know what I saw,
But the terror seizing my throat proclaimed what
It knew and we, my wife and son and I, raced
Together down those stairs where we thought
Up quick solutions to the presence of what we faced
There, poised and unconcerned, waiting for its
Destiny and ours to be played out. “Kill it! Kill it!”
Was one avenue to be taken; a knife was called for
But a camera appeared handy to counter disbelief
As we shot picture after picture but not before
Considering our pet rice finch ‘Lucky’s’ fate,
By then a lumpy outline bulging from one coil
Showing what our guest ate
During the night, a meal for the special
Occasion that we knew, later, it was.
We left the cage door open and watched him
Slither away through the grass softly, imperious as
The darkness he had stolen inside our house under,
And as he took his leave we, silent and grim,
Stood in the doorway watching, heartbeats
Crashing through our thoughts as the scene repeats
Itself amid the clamorous, sacred, random thunder
Of remembrance where, in a new house now,
In a new life, I see, yes, how
We all become what we are meant to be,
We are all incredibly, miraculously,